6.2.12

Mountain - Part 13 - Punishment

The camp was located on the outskirts of a small village not far from Acorn Hall. Darkness was just beginning to fall and the air was noisy with the sounds of drunken men, whores, and screaming. The screaming came from nearby barn, in which Lord Gregor's men had housed the villagers they had captured. The cause of the screaming, Gregor knew, was the Tickler. One of his most valuable armsmen, the Tickler was a plain, nondescript looking man. He had no distinguishing features, he had no distinctive colouring, his demeanor was quiet, he kept to himself. But the Tickler was skilled in the arts of torture.

Currently, the Tickler was questioning the villagers, one by one. The main interest was the whereabouts of Beric Dondarrion, former Lord of Blackhaven, and his men, known as the Brotherhood Without Banners. The Brotherhood was making a nuisance of themselves, harrying the Lannisters foraging parties and fighting in the memory of the former King, Robert Baratheon. Lord Gregor's men had been searching for Dondarrion & the Brotherhood for some time, but had not yet managed to unearth the band of miscreants. The Tickler repeated the same questions to each person he questioned. He asked if there was gold hidden in the village, if there was silver, the whereabouts of Dondarrion, how many men were with him, how many knights, how many bowmen, and so on, until the villager finally expired and he quietly called for the next one.

Gregor Clegane sat in his tent, finishing a roasted chicken and contemplated his return to Harrenhal. Things were well in hand here, he thought. None of these villagers were likely to tell them anything about Dondarrion. The Tickler had already been through half the village, if someone knew something, they'd have spoken up by now. There seemed no reason why he should remain. He would take twenty men and ride out for Harrenhal in the morning. It was barely a day's ride, they would arrive at the castle by nightfall. He had a wedding to attend. His own, his third.

He was well connected, it was true, being a Lannister Bannerman and Lord Tywin Lannister's enforcer. However, Karstark was one of the old families, and he was but a new Lord, formerly a Landed Knight. A marriage to a Karstark daughter would elevate his position, but marriage to Karstark's eldest daughter would make him heir to Karhold and its holdings, should the eldest son not survive. With the current war at hand, a green boy leading an army certainly had the odds stacked against him. Gregor would have been foolish to refuse his aid to Karstark, so he agreed, his only condition being marriage to the eldest daughter. Though he and Lord Tomard had squired together and had been friends of a sort, he was not foolish enough to think that Tomard would have considered Gregor for his eldest daughter, had he not been in dire straits. She would have been destined to marry a Lord of another of the old Houses, perhaps even a Prince or a King if the timing and politics were right. Luck was smiling on him, it seemed.

Gregor had been married twice before, the first the eldest daughter of another Landed Knight, the second the second daughter of a minor Lord. He had gotten nothing he'd wanted out of either of them. Both had been comely enough, but too thin, with hips too narrow and teats too small for his taste. Both had been very timid, frightened of him. Their timidity angered him and he'd had very little patience for either of them. He'd bedded them as necessary, but otherwise not bothered with them. The bedding had also been a chore, as they'd both lain cold and quivering under him, never even making it interesting by putting up a fight. Gregor done his duty, but had found his pleasure elsewhere, with whores or the prettiest girls captured from the villages they raided. Sometimes there weren't any pretty ones, so less pretty ones had to suffice. But it was easy enough to turn them over and take them from behind, so he'd never found that to be much of a hindrance.

Both of his former wives had died and he often got them confused when he thought of them now, when he thought of them, which was seldom. One had been an Alys, and the other an Elinor, but he had just yelled "Woman!" when he'd wanted one. He'd wanted them seldom, but had taken them all the same. Gregor had a vague  recollection of them both, their faces faded together to become one in his memory. He thought of the times he would visit them in their bedchambers, thought of standing by their bedside, towering over them as they cowered under the bed covers. Thought of how he'd never undressed, simply opened his trousers and climbed on top of them, pushing up their long white bed gowns. He thought of hard, dry fucks, of them lying still under him, shaking and crying silently as he thrust into them. Gregor thought of the dull, pleasureless completion of the act, of rising and closing his trousers, leaving them without a word. He didn't remember ever talking to them. He remembered their deaths, but he did not remember their lives.

He thought of them now, as his new wife to be was in such stark contrast to both of them. He wondered if it was because she was Northern, or because her father wasn't an idiot. She was extremely beautiful, that was certain, but it was something more that set her apart. She was a true Lady, to be sure, graceful, obedient and correct. This pleased him and Lord Clegane would be proud of her when other men looked at her, knowing that they envied him both her beauty and her worth. But there was something fey about her, a quiet wildness that was intriguing to him. She looked him in the eye, which no woman, save his mother, had ever done before. She didn't seem like a generally brave girl, but she was not afraid of him. Cautious, perhaps, but not afraid.

Everyone he'd ever know had been afraid of him, men and women alike. Even his mother had learned to be afraid of him in time. He was a man who showed no mercy, as he'd never seen any reason to do so. From a very young age, he'd had a quick temper. By the age of ten, he'd begun to develop headaches when he got angry. When he had a headache, he found his temper to be worse than ever. As he grew older, he began to realize that he got further by showing his temper than he did by being reasonable. He wasn't an ugly man, but he had a rough look that, combined with his size, made him seem even more intimidating. By the age of seventeen, he'd already reached seven feet tall, towering over everyone he met. The larger he grew, the more intimidating people found him to be.

"My Lord..." a voice called out, interrupting his thoughts. 

"Enter." he grunted. Joss, his squire, entered holding out a message.

"A raven from Harrenhal, from Lord Karstark. Its marked urgent, my Lord." he said, placing the folded message on the table.

"Wait boy, in case I must reply." Gregor picked it up and opened it, squinting to read in the dim light of his tent.
My Lord Gregor, My daughter, Melicent, your betrothed, has been attacked here within the walls Harrenhal. Thank the Seven, two of your Household Guards intervened. Her injuries are not serious, however, I believe you would wish to be informed without delay. Lord Tomard Karstark

Gregor stood quickly, toppling the table and crushing the message in his huge fist. "JOSS... HORSE, ARMOUR! NOW!" as Joss sprang into action, Gregor strode to the door of the tent, yelling to the guards there. "Find Raff! I want him here! NOW!"

Within a quarter hour, Gregor and his men were tearing out of camp, riding hard for Harrenhal. Someone had dared to touch... to harm... what belonged to him.  Whoever had done this thing must have been either simple or insane, he could think of no other reason that anyone would dare place a finger on Gregor Clegane's woman. The ride was a blur to him, his head pounded, every hoof beat was like a harsh blow, the sound of the horses hooves like thunder. They rode through the night, slowing occasionally and resting the horses twice, so as not to run them into the ground. The waiting was like all Seven Hells rolled into one for Gregor, who was not at the best of times, a patient man.

Harrenhal came into view just as the rising sun caused the line of the horizon to glow like an iron just out of the fire. They kicked their tired horses into a hard gallop. Perhaps knowing that warm stalls, fresh hay & grain lay ahead, the horses rallied with a burst of speed. The watch must have been looking out for them, as the gates began to rise at their approach. They rode into the outer ward, where Gregor gave word to Raff to settle the men, then he rode into the Flowstone Yard, handed off his stallion to the nearest boy, and stomped into the keep. Ronal, the Steward, hurried across the Hall of a Hundred Hearths to meet him. Gregor grunted several orders to as he strode across the great hall, coming to a halt near the fire.

"You...girl...bring me wine, and be fucking quick about it. Ronal. Awaken Lord Karstark and tell him to come to me here. I wish to speak with him before I see the... prisoner." he removed his helm, then his huge lobstered steel greaves as he spoke. "Never mind that... send a servant and help me out of this blasted armour. I've left the bloody squire at the camp." Ronal dispatched a boy to rouse Lord Tomard, then set about helping Lord Gregor out of his heavy plate. Clad in boiled leather, he turned to address Lord Tomard as he entered the hall.

"The girl is not hurt?" he growled. Tomard nodded, looking as though he hadn't slept. "She is resting. She is safe. Thanks to two of your men on the walls..."

"Tell me ..." Gregor said in a low voice. Tomard did. He told him all he knew, singing the praises of Reglas and Cregan, naming Ser Arys Dayne, as her attacker.

Just then, Raff entered the hall. Gregor drained his flagon of sour red and turned to Ronal. "Find me Reglas and Cregan. Send them to me in the dungeons. I'm going to visit with Ser Arys Dayne. Tomard, perhaps you should return to your chambers. You may not want to bear witness to my... talk... with Ser Arys."

Lord Tomard nodded. He was not the Justice here, he had no say in the punishment of the Dornishman. He cringed to think of the next few hours for Arys. However, he had his daughter and her honour to consider. He nodded again. "I shall check on Melicent, then perhaps rest for a time. I have not slept this night. I grow tired now..." He bowed, and left the hall, heading for the King's Pyre Tower.

Gregor picked up his longsword and moved in the direction of the dungeons. Raff followed a few steps behind. The dungeons were dank and dim. Guttering torches lined the walls at widely spaced intervals. The stone walls and floor were damp with moisture that seemed somehow to seep in from the God's Eye. There were many cells, several housed prisoners, but not a sound was to be heard from any of them. Seeing Lord Gregor, they moved to the backs of their cells and huddled in the shadows. At the far end of a row of locked doors, Ser Arys Dayne crouched in a corner of a cell that was so far away from the nearest torch as to be completely dark inside. The cells in this part of the dungeons had huge heavy wooden doors, reinforced with iron. In other parts the cells had iron bars, letting in some little bit of light. These solitary cells, however, had only smaller barred doors cut into the larger, and these could be closed completely or opened to pass food in to the occupant.

Only a few moments passed before Reglas and Cregan arrived. Gregor greeted and thanked his men, promising that they would be rewarded for their deeds and instructing them to stay and see justice done.

Gregor ordered the gaoler and the two guards to remove Arys Dayne from his cell and bring him to a small room with a large heavy table in the middle and fire blazing in a nearby brazier. Various tools lined the walls and he could see Arys Dayne's eyes widen with fright as he was nearly carried into the room. The Dornishman fought and struggled as he was lifted onto the table. It took the three strong men to strap him down. Gregor pictured the swarthy snake on top of his woman, his property, and a sharp bolt of pain shot through his temple.

"I... I can explain...please..." Ser Arys pleaded, his eyes wide, looking up at Gregor in terror, all the fire and fight gone from his usual, vainglorious demeanor.

"Do not speak again, I warn you..." Gregor growled, he would have no patience for this one.

"But, please... my Lord..." Dayne tried again.

Gregor turned to the wall behind him and chose a tool that looked like some kind of a large pincer and thrust it into the fire. "I warned you not to fucking speak." He said, turning back to Ser Arys. Dayne's eyes grew wider and he began to sob. "Hold his head." Gregor barked at Raff, who moved quickly to do as he was bid, strapping the helpless man's head to the table and holding it still.

It only took a moment to remove the Dornishman's tongue. His screams turned to gurgles and choking as his mouth filled with blood. Gregor ordered him propped up so he would not choke to death, and the gaoler turned a wheel, which tilted the table slightly. Gregor was not yet finished with the swarthy Knight. He next chose a smaller pincer, with which he proceeded to slowly and methodically remove first the Dornishman's fingernails, and then his toenails. He was pleased to see that both Reglas and Cregan stood by in silence and did not flinch.

By now, Arys Dayne had been reduced to shrieking and blubbering, he was long past the ability to beg or plead for mercy. All the noise he made caused Gregor's already aching head to pound. He wished he could lie down, however, he was not yet satisfied with the punishment he'd administered to Ser Arys. Instead of selecting an instrument from the wall, this time pulled an elaborately carved, bone handled dagger from a sheath at his waist. He removed the Dornishman's fingers from first his sword hand, and then his left hand. The screaming was nearly unbearable to his aching head, and yet he did not flinch. He would die before allowing others to know of his one weakness. Next he removed the Dornishman's toes, one by one. Before he had finished with the first foot, Dayne passed out cold, and Gregor was able to finish the job in blessed silence.

When he had finished Gregor wiped the blood from his dagger on Ser Arys's tunic, then turned to the two armsmen. "I'll want to make an example of you two. Knight you. In front of the men. If that's agreeable to you." he looked from one to the other, frowning. Cregan and Reglas glanced at one another, then back at their Lord. Gregor Clegane did what he pleased, he did not concern himself with what was agreeable to others. They nodded and thanked him before taking their leave. It was well known that Lord Gregor had never Knighted any of his men, even his closest companions.

"See to his wounds." he growled at the gaoler, nodding toward the unconscious Dornishman. "See that he doesn't die. If he should, I'll be very displeased. I want to kill him tomorrow, on my wedding day. Make him a fucking example as well. No one touches what is mine."


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5 comments:

  1. *_*!!! nice

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  2. <3 it melly xx

    Emma x

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  3. You mustn't tease us with just one new chapter!! MORE!!

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  4. Thank you for updating!
    I just love the story you have created here.
    So, is it safe to assume that the "wedding night" is going to happen in the next chapter? :)

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  5. thank you so much! i would say its safe to assume the wedding/wedding night will take place within the next chapter or 2. i have a feeling, but you never can tell. i truly don't know just what will happen until i'm writing it. i've started the next chapter & its moving along pretty well! *knocks on wood* ;)

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